To The Pious Memory Of The Accomplished Young Lady Mrs. Anne Killigrew

Thou youngest virgin-daughter of the skies,
  Made in the last promotion of the Blest;
Whose palms, new pluck'd from Paradise,
In spreading branches more sublimely rise,
Rich with immortal green above the rest:
Whether, adopted to some neighbouring star,
Thou roll'st above us, in thy wand'ring race,
  Or, in procession fix'd and regular,
  Mov'd with the Heavens' majestic pace:
 Or, call'd to more superior bliss,
Thou tread'st, with seraphims, the vast abyss.
What ever happy region is thy place,
Cease thy celestial song a little space;
(Thou wilt have time enough for hymns divine,
 Since Heav'n's eternal year is thine.)
Hear then a mortal Muse thy praise rehearse,
In no ignoble verse;
But such as thy own voice did practise here,
When thy first fruits of poesy were giv'n;
To make thyself a welcome inmate there:
While yet a young probationer,
And Candidate of Heav'n.

 If by traduction came thy mind,
 Our wonder is the less to find
A soul so charming from a stock so good;
Thy father was transfus'd into thy blood:
So wert thou born into the tuneful strain,
(An early, rich, and inexhausted vein.)
 But if thy preexisting soul
 Was form'd, at first, with myriads more,
It did through all the mighty poets roll,
 Who Greek or Latin laurels wore,
And was that Sappho last, which once it was before.
 If so, then cease thy flight, O Heav'n-born mind!
Thou hast no dross to purge from thy rich ore:
 Nor can thy soul a fairer mansion find,
 Than was the beauteous frame she left behind:
Return, to fill or mend the choir, of thy celestial kind.

May we presume to say, that at thy birth,
New joy was sprung in Heav'n as well as here on earth.
For sure the milder planets did combine
On thy auspicious horoscope to shine,
And ev'n the most malicious were in trine.
Thy brother-angels at thy birth
Strung each his lyre, and tun'd it high,
That all the people of the sky
Might know a poetess was born on earth;
And then if ever, mortal ears
Had heard the music of the spheres!
And if no clust'ring swarm of bees
 On thy sweet mouth distill'd their golden dew,
'Twas that, such vulgar miracles,
Heav'n had not leisure to renew:
 For all the blest fraternity of love
Solemniz'd there thy birth, and kept thy Holyday above.

 O Gracious God! How far have we
Profan'd thy Heav'nly gift of poesy?
Made prostitute and profligate the Muse,
Debas'd to each obscene and impious use,
Whose harmony was first ordain'd above
For tongues of angels, and for hymns of love?
O wretched we! why were we hurried down
 This lubrique and adult'rate age,
 (Nay added fat pollutions of our own)
 T'increase the steaming ordures of the stage?
 What can we say t'excuse our Second Fall?
 Let this thy vestal, Heav'n, atone for all!
 Her Arethusian stream remains unsoil'd,
 Unmix'd with foreign filth, and undefil'd,
Her wit was more than man, her innocence a child!

 Art she had none, yet wanted none:
 For Nature did that want supply,
 So rich in treasures of her own,
 She might our boasted stores defy:
Such noble vigour did her verse adorn,
That it seem'd borrow'd, where 'twas only born.
Her morals too were in her bosom bred
 By great examples daily fed,
What in the best of Books, her Father's Life, she read.
 And to be read her self she need not fear,
 Each test, and ev'ry light, her Muse will bear,
 Though Epictetus with his lamp were there.
 Ev'n love (for love sometimes her Muse express'd)
Was but a lambent-flame which play'd about her breast:
 Light as the vapours of a morning dream,
So cold herself, whilst she such warmth express'd,
 'Twas Cupid bathing in Diana's stream.

Born to the spacious empire of the Nine,
One would have thought, she should have been content
To manage well that mighty government;
But what can young ambitious souls confine?
 To the next realm she stretch'd her sway,
 For painture near adjoining lay,
A plenteous province, and alluring prey.
A chamber of dependences was fram'd,
(As conquerors will never want pretence,
 When arm'd, to justify th'offence)
And the whole fief, in right of poetry she claim'd.
 The country open lay without defence:
For poets frequent inroads there had made,
  And perfectly could represent
The shape, the face, with ev'ry lineament:
And all the large domains which the Dumb-sister sway'd,
All bow'd beneath her government,
Receiv'd in triumph wheresoe'er she went,
Her pencil drew, what e'er her soul design'd,
And oft the happy draught surpass'd the image in her mind.
The
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John Dryden

John Dryden was an English poet, literary critic, translator, and playwright who was made Poet Laureate in 1668. more…

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"To The Pious Memory Of The Accomplished Young Lady Mrs. Anne Killigrew" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Sep. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/22733/to-the-pious-memory-of-the-accomplished-young-lady-mrs.-anne-killigrew>.

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